Jacinta Roberts is new to the sports of triathlon and cycling. After leading a relatively inactive lifestyle whilst growing up, Jacinta made the shift to sport when the pandemic arrived. She decided to buy a bike and capitalised on every opportunity to get out of the house and go for a ride. As with most endurance sport enthusiasts, she soon became addicted!
Jacinta is also studying a PhD in Data Science at the QUT Centre for Data Science and she teaches Electrical Engineering at QUT in Brisbane. She loves learning and is fascinated by science and data. She is currently researching the relationship between training load and injury, and her goal is to make it to the Ironman World Championships in Kona one day.
Hi, I am Jacinta, and I am currently a PhD student at the QUT Centre for Data Science. I really love learning and I am fascinated by numbers, optimisation problems, and software development. My research uses Bayesian statistics to model subsequent injuries to better understand the relationship between injury risk and training load in athletes.
When it comes to triathlon, I am still relatively new to the sport as I competed in my first triathlon only a year ago. I consider myself a competitive age-group triathlete, but the first sport I fell in love with was cycling. I got my first road bike in 2020 when the gyms were closed and I was simply looking for a way to stay active. I started doing some group rides on the Sunshine Coast and was hooked.
A self-proclaimed “maths nerd,” I love the strategic aspects of cycling, as well as the social side of it. The teams I race for are Women’s Cycling Brisbane (cycling) and WYN Republic Racing (triathlon). I am grateful for their support.
WHAT WAS YOUR BACKGROUND IN SPORT GROWING UP?
Growing up, I was not athletic. I was a bit of a computer nerd and spent much my time playing video games! I didn’t play or compete in many sports and was living a somewhat sedentary lifestyle – quite a contrast to life now.
You can safely say that I wasn’t swimming, biking or running growing up! Whilst I did the odd run at school, of perhaps 3km max, I was certainly not considered an experienced athlete.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE SPORT OF TRIATHLON?
I suppose I really got into triathlon during covid. I started cycling, then began enjoying getting outside and clearing my head on the bike. I was doing the odd run twice per week and noticed that I was running faster, as a result of the increased strength and endurance I was building on the bike. So, I figured if I could swim, I might be able to do a triathlon.
I watched a few Ironman races online and was inspired to take up the sport myself. I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and did quite well! My first triathlon was the Bribie Island Triathlon. I entered the shortest distance race, panicked in the swim, did a bit of backstroke, got on the bike and everything just got better after that! I felt eager to train more and one day race in a major event, such as the Ironman World Championships in Kona.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE RACING AND TRAINING FOR TWO SPORTS SIMULTANEOUSLY?
I have recently started working with a coach and he has helped me plan out my season better, as well as create more structure in my training. Since I have only recently started both sports, I am simply enjoying what I am doing. To some extent, I am just entering any races I see that take my fancy and could be fun!
I feel that the training for the two sports is complimentary. Training for both reduces the chance of overuse injury in one. For example, I find swimming helps my legs recover from cycling, allowing me to ride and run better. Additionally, cycling, due to its greater aerobic as well as strength components, helps my running. The overall combination just seems to work.
WHAT ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS IN SPORT?
My long-term goal in triathlon is to qualify for and race at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. I would love to watch the pros race and I know it would be an honour to race there too. I would also like to qualify for a World 70.3 Championships and Townsville, in Queensland, is hosting the 2024 World 70.3 Championships. So I have my eyes set on securing a spot.
In cycling, if I can keep up with A Grade women’s racing, I know that I am in good shape and form. The skills I learn and the fitness I gain from cycling and racing on the bike only help me get faster overall in triathlon too. So how I am racing on the bike is a good indicator of how I may race in triathlon.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PRE-RACE NERVES?
I am going to be honest and admit that I don’t deal too well with nerves. Whenever my family or friends have attended races in the past, I have felt the pressure of racing so much that I have ended up even more nervous. So, I have dealt with this, for the most part, by going to races alone and learning what works for me. However, ultimately, this is an area I know I can work on. I try not to add any extra pressure by keeping the build-up to races fairly low key and staying organised.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRAINING SESSION AND WHY?
It is difficult to single out a specific session or discipline, but I’m going to go for a brick session… I love the feeling of running with heavy legs off a hard bike. Criterium and road races are also great ways to get some high intensity training in, whilst also having a lot of fun!
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE BINDI?
The main reason why I choose Bindi is that it is Australian made and completely natural. I like their emphasis on vegan products and love their Organic Pea Protein. One of my favourite post training meals is a smoothie bowl, so I always add the Bindi Organic Pea Protein to my smoothie bowls and find I recover really well!